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Promoting the Same Product in Multiple Markets

Cultural Differences

13 April, 2021

Ashutosh Dabral
Ashutosh Dabral

Chief Product & Technology Officer at Tata CLiQ

Ashutosh Dabral, Chief Product Officer at MoneyTap, shares his experience on how one product failed in one market while flourished in the other.


Back in 2012, I was trying to monetize one of the most renowned search results pages we know today. Along with my team, we tried to experiment if adding some images along with the ad will lead to further clicks. This test was done in two markets: the United States and Taiwan. While we used some matching algorithm to figure out the query that is pertinent to the image, to my surprise, it did not have a decent revenue impact or any impact on the users in the United States. This was due to the fact that the matching was accurate only 75 - 80% of the time. While in the remaining cases, the ad would end up being shown with a non relevant image. As a result, we did not launch the product in the US market. However, the dry run was pretty successful in the Taiwan market for a few weeks, which was an eye-opener for me.

Actions taken

Naturally, the wise action to take was to experiment on the markets first. This enabled us to understand whether or not the product would be favorable in the USA market. Through the test, we were able to determine the clicks' overall impact, which was almost flat. This would also have a potential negative impact on user experience as some of the images shown were irrelevant for which it was decided to shelve this product And, we were able to conclude that not many additional clicks were happening as a result of this.

Subsequently, we conducted thorough customer research of the market, which included directly speaking to customers. This was when we figured out that users are more likely to click on an ad, whereby the image is relevant to its content. But since we saw an uplift in the Taiwanese market we did a deeper dive and spoke to a ton of customers and did some more research. The results were surprising. The users in the Taiwan market preferred an ad with an image over one without an image even if the image was not relevant to the query. Intuitively, when I looked at it, this helped me assess different user behavior.

Not to forget to mention that before we experimented with the product in the Taiwanese market, I showed them the test results from the USA market. I tried to explain to them the reasons why it failed in the other market. Even then, the local Taiwanese market was keen on experimenting with the product. Fortunately, we received adequate positive feedback from the advertisers, which led to a test on the product.

Lessons learned

  • On hypothesis, if a product does not work in one market, it does not necessarily conclude that it would not work in another market. Do your research, evaluate and take action on how you can do better.
  • Different cultures and different countries have different tastes in products. For instance, the Western world's design language is very minimalistic with neat and clean designs, whereas it is the complete opposite in Asia.
  • Always dig deeper to find out if the product needs more changes to fit into the market.

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